If you find yourself a party to business litigation, you might discover that the process is far from simple. There are procedures to follow, there is discovery to perform and there are various other moving parts.
The process is often slow. However, one thing that should not slow it down is a lawsuit that another party brings against you for the purpose of intimidation.
What is a SLAPP?
A SLAPP is a strategic lawsuit against public participation. In the context of an ongoing business dispute, it might take the form of the other party suing you for slander, libel or defamation.
One popular target is prelitigation communication. If your counterpart in a lawsuit claims that your letters are defamatory, it could be out of an interest to silence you rather than a sincere concern for the reputation of the business.
What happens if you become the target of a SLAPP?
If you or your company becomes the target of a SLAPP, you could have some protection under California’s robust anti-SLAPP laws. As the strong wording of the law and various court decisions evidence, neither legislators nor judges want court dockets clogged with these intimidation cases.
One of the most common reactions to a SLAPP is filing an anti-SLAPP motion. If you have the evidence necessary, it is possible that a judge will dismiss the case against you. You might even recover the cost of filing your motion from the SLAPP-filing party.
Not every defamation, libel or slander claim is a SLAPP. Further, some SLAPPs use other bases. However, if the lawsuit hinders your right to petition or your right to free speech, it is possible that a judge will consider it a SLAPP.